FLORENCE – A man, who made bomb threats at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility on Thursday, Patrick Michael Gerola, is in custody.
According to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, on December 31, 2020, at approximately 5:57 a.m. an ICE supervisor called the Florence Police Department to report a suspicious male in a vehicle honking the horn and making bomb threats in the parking lot of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Facility located at 3250 N. Pinal Parkway; Florence, AZ.
When officers arrived, they found Gerola acting in a “suspicious manner” sitting in the driver’s side of a 2001 Isuzu Rodeo located 100 yards west of Highway 79 in the ICE parking lot.
Because of the nature of the threats, the Pinal County SWAT team was activated; along with the AZ Department of Public Safety’s Bomb Squad. Florence Fire, Pinal County Emergency Management, the FBI and ICE SRT also responded to assist.
State Route 79, which had been closed in both directions during the incident, is now fully reopened.
Gerola, described by the Sheriff’s Office as Hispanic 56-year-old, whose last known address was in Superior, AZ., was taken into custody at approximately 11:53 a.m. without incident.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, no explosive devices were found.
Authorities say Gerola’s motives for the strange behavior are unknown at this time.
Gerola has been booked into the Pinal County jail and is charged with: Terrorism (Class 2 felony), Disorderly Conduct (Class 1 misdemeanor), Trespassing (Class 2 misdemeanor).
“We are grateful for the teamwork between all involved agencies to bring this matter to a peaceful resolution,” said Sheriff Mark Lamb.